What to Black People Is Safety?

In September of last year the increasingly devastating wild fire season in northern California brought apocalyptic orange and red skies to the Bay Area. I woke up one morning and looked out on a dark red glow to the sky, disoriented about the time of day. I thought the redness would shake, but as the… Continue reading What to Black People Is Safety?

Beauty for Ashes

"To provide for those who grieve...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes." Isaiah 61:3 Last night during my small group for church, our pastor had us reflect on the biblical passage: "The people who survived the sword, found favor in the wilderness while Israel was seeking rest" (Jeremiah 31:2). That passage evokes… Continue reading Beauty for Ashes

Making Space, Building Place

In my travels and the many places I have called home over the years -- from Ghana to Cambridge, England -- the lessons I learned from watching my mother make spaces has stayed with me in very real ways. Placemaking by naming and claiming space is an act of resistance. It calls forth my right… Continue reading Making Space, Building Place

Saying Goodbye to A Town Where Time Does Not Reside, Part 1

From age 4 to 18 I lived in the type of sleepy towns you read about in books, where people don't always lock their doors, unless of course you're us - the only non-white family around for many years. In that case your world is surrounded by Confederate flags in a state that was part… Continue reading Saying Goodbye to A Town Where Time Does Not Reside, Part 1

Living My Own Narratives

What does it mean for something to be mine and not yours? what "right" do I have to a space, a land, a boundary? Maybe I'm the "good" immigrant to them. The Ivy degree, no criminal record, "good addition" to this country checkboxes. I think about the first time someone told me that I should… Continue reading Living My Own Narratives

Reflections on Commencement upon 5 years of Journeying and Writing

For Trayvon - I think I always start with you because your murder was the first time I had the responsibility of looking into the eyes of a younger generation, and try to find the words to make sense of the senseless. There were never the right words, the proper lesson to do that work, so… Continue reading Reflections on Commencement upon 5 years of Journeying and Writing

The Gifts of My Mother –Reflections on Mother’s Day

''How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers' names.''                 -Alice Walker Whenever people ask me why I want to be a writer, I always begin at my mother, who is a writer. I would feel… Continue reading The Gifts of My Mother –Reflections on Mother’s Day

On Leaving (Again) and Thoughts that Have No Words

"During the time between ending one project and beginning another, I always have a crisis of meaning." - bell hooks There are instances. Instances when I will stand still outside amongst the bustle of life and close my eyes and imagine that I am as alone as I sometimes feel. There is a deep well… Continue reading On Leaving (Again) and Thoughts that Have No Words

“And what shall we do, we who did not die?”

"And what shall we do, we who did not die?  What shall we do now?  How shall we grieve, and cry out loud, and face down despair?  Is there an honorable, non-violent means towards mourning and remembering who and what we loved?" -June Jordan I will always remember when I was talking to a friend… Continue reading “And what shall we do, we who did not die?”